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Hearing aids amplify sound for those who have a hard time hearing. This can be especially helpful for those with hearing loss due to a disability or the aging process. Hearing aid users who get regular ear infections might assume that their hearing aid may have caused it, but while wearing hearing aids may make you more susceptible to ear infections, there are many factors involved.

Are Hearing Aid Wearers More Likely to Get Ear Infections?

Wearing a hearing aid does not directly cause ear infections, but consistent use of hearing aids without proper cleaning techniques could make you more at risk for ear infections. This is often caused by bacteria and microorganisms growing and living on the hearing aid. While this may seem troubling, it’s important to know that most causes of ear infections are from colds, allergies, the flu and fluid that gets trapped in the ear after swimming or bathing, not from wearing hearing aids. There are two different types of ear infections:

  • Middle ear infection – this infection is caused by fluid being trapped behind the eardrum and often stems from congestion. Sinus or throat infections can also lead to middle ear infections. The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum that contains the small, vibrating bones of the ear, called the Ossicles.
  • Outer ear infection – the outer ear begins at the entrance of the ear canal and goes up to the eardrum. This type of infection is most commonly known as “Swimmer’s ear” since it is caused by water being trapped in the ear, which can easily breed bacteria.

Hearing aids do not necessarily cause ear infections, but not cleaning them regularly, or wearing hearing aids that don’t fit properly which can cause the ear to become irritated and therefore infected, can make wearers more prone to infections.

How Can I Avoid Ear Infections When Wearing Hearing Aids?

The best way to avoid ear infections is to keep a regular cleaning routine for your hearing aids. Cleaning your hearing aids not only reduces your risk of infection, but it helps your devices last longer and sound better. Some other tips to avoid ear infections are:

  • Create good, regular cleaning habits
  • Get proper cleaning tools
  • Keep your hearing aids in a safe, dry place; never store them in a bathroom
  • Have your hearing aids professionally cleaned every 6 months
  • Consider using a hearing aid humidifier, especially if you live in a humid climate or sweat a lot
  • Ask your hearing health professionals advice on how to care for your hearing aids
  • Get your hearing aids properly fitted to avoid discomfort and scratching in your ear

Following these steps will reduce your risk of an ear infection if you wear hearing aids, but if you start feeling pain in your ears, contact your doctor right away.At Sonora Hearing Care, LLC, our experienced doctors will help advise you on how to get the most out of your hearing devices. If you would like to learn more about how to take care of your hearing aids, or have been prone to ear infections in the past and would like to set up an appointment, contact us today.